St. John Bosco championship run falls one game short

St. John Bosco players at a CIF championship luncheon.

St. John Bosco players at a CIF championship luncheon.

ANAHEIM – St John Bosco’s run for back to back Pac-5 Championship titles came up one win short, after the Centennial Huskies (Corona) defeated Bosco, 48-41, at Angel Stadium last Saturday night. Centennial couldn’t have scripted their first time making a run at the Pac-5 Title any better after moving playoff divisions this season.

The Huskies arguably had one of the most daunting brackets to survive just to face Bosco in the championship game. Defeating such powerhouse programs as Serra, Mater Dei and Bishop Amat certainly had Centennial battle tested for Bosco and it showed as the title game unfolded.

After both Centennial and Bosco’s offenses turned the ball over on downs to start the game, one might think this could turn into a defensive struggle. Nothing could have been further from reality.

Bosco’s Sean McGrew and Centennial’s Sammonte Bonner exchanged touchdown runs for their respective teams and had the score locked at 14-14 in the second quarter when Bosco blinked first.

With the score tied at 14-14, Bonner burst through the line of scrimmage virtually untouched and out ran the Bosco defense for the go-ahead 63-yard TD and put the Huskies up 21-14.

The Huskies would go onto score 20-unanswered points helped by two Bosco turnovers in the second quarter and a costly holding penalty that negated a Bosco touchdown by Joey Chenoweth on a kickoff return.

In all Centennial scored 27 second quarter points and took a 34-14 lead into halftime.

Bosco’s offense took advantage of having the first possession of the third quarter and immediately cut into the Centennial lead.

McGrew scored his third touchdown of the night on a 44-yard scamper into the endzone to pull the Braves within 34-20, after the missed PAT.

Centennial was able to counter that touchdown with a scoring drive of their own and push their lead to 41-20.

After a Clifford Simms 1-yard TD run on 4th and goal, Bosco’s defense finally forced Centennial to have to punt their ensuing possession and the Bosco offense went right to work.

Bosco quarterback Josh Rosen hooked up with Jared Harrell on a 60-yard goalpost-route and the touchdown pass made it a one possession game, 41-34, heading into the 4th quarter.

The Bosco faithful in attendance were hopeful the tide was turning and had even more faith when a field goal attempt by Centennial missed wide right giving the ball back to the Braves and only needing a touchdown to tie the game.

However, the momentum shift was short-lived as Centennial’s Seleti Fevaleaki came up with the defensive play of the game for the Huskies.

Bosco had the right play called to start their drive, a screen play to McGrew who had blockers and plenty of open space in front of him.

However,  Rosen’s pass was snatched out of the air by Fevaleaki who returned it a few yards to the Bosco seven yard line.

From their Centennial punched it in for the touchdown and extended their lead to 48-34 with just over eight minutes left in the game.

After the ensuing kickoff, Bosco’s Rosen took it upon himself to keep his team’s dream alive in this championship game.

Facing a 4th and-7 Rosen took the shot-gun snap and seeing no receiver open he sprinted 52 yards up the Huskie sideline avoiding tacklers until finally being brought down at the Centennial 13-yard line.

On the next play Rosen quickly hit Kaylin Franklin for the 13-yard score and breathe life back into the Braves who only trailed 48-41 with plenty of time on the clock, 6:15 to play.

Like Centennial did all game long they were unfazed by the Bosco rally and had an answer, and that answer was a three-headed monster in the form of Sammonte Bonner, Javon McKinley and Nate Ketteringham.

All night long these players kept the pressure on the young Bosco defense and all three played a role in Centennial’s game-clinching-drive.

With 6:15 left to play Bosco’s offense hoped for a defensive stand and at least one more shot to try and catch the Huskies.

However, Bonner continued to look fresh on this final drive as he kept running hard in the middle of the Bosco defense to eat up the clock in route to his 227-yard on 43-carry performance.

When the Braves were able to slow down Bonner and force Ketteringham to throw the ball he found his favorite target wideout Javon McKinley.

McKinley made a key third-down catch to keep the drive alive and added to his impressive playoff resume this year as he finished his night hauling in 13 catches for 151 yards and one touchdown.

Ketteringham may have been a little overshadowed for most of the game by Bonner and McKinley, but on this championship drive he shined the brightest of the trio.

After a holding penalty made it first-and-20 and looking like Bosco’s defense may have gotten the break they needed to try and stop this Huskie drive, Ketteringham responded.

The senior quarterback found the wide-open receiver in a blown coverage by Bosco’s defense for a long pass and moved the chains for the first down.

Bosco’s defense was able to rebound from this play and had one last chance to try and force Centennial into a fourth-down decision.

Once again Ketteringham never allowed his team into that situation and took matters into his own hands, literally.

With just under two minutes left in the game and Bosco out of timeouts, Centennial faced a third down and seven yards for the first.

Ketteringham executed the lead option-play to perfection and kept the ball himself and ran the ball for the first down and all that was left was to celebrate the Huskies’ first ever CIF Pac-5 Championship.

Centennial will now take on Northern Section Champion De LaSalle (Concord, Calif.) for the state championship on Saturday, Dec. 20.

 

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Published: Dec. 11, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 35